Things I Learned in 2017

Hello readers,

Despite the last two years of my life feeling a bit like a one-way ticket on the Hot Mess Express, I very much try to look on the positive side of things. Every year around my birthday my good friend Rachel asks me what she calls the “Birthday Question.” The question is simply: “What did it take you (insert your new age here) amount of years to learn?” Now, granted this time of year isn’t anywhere near my birthday, but I thought I would apply the same kind of thinking when looking back at this last year. This year was one full of milestones for me, and it took a little bit of reflection to realize that, though less than stellar things might happen in the course of your life, it is still a good life. If you need a sign from the universe that this is true, there is one in the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. I conveniently found it on my 30th birthday. And on, that note, I’m going to tell some of the things I learned in 2017:

I’ve learned how to do Las Vegas. Now, I know you’re probably thinking: “Eva, what’s there to ‘do’? You’re there at least once a year already.” Nay nay, there are certain tricks you can employ to seriously maximize your Vegas experience. Ladies, use that social media! Put as many ridiculous Vegas-related hashtags in your comments as you can think of. Save promoters phone numbers and build a rapport. Get a group of your best girlfriends and get yourself out there! Adventures await. Just make sure you take a few naps, stock up on the Red Bull, and wear your most comfortable heels. You too can “hack” Vegas if you’re determined enough.

You want the thing? Do the thing. Yes, this is a primitive way of putting it. Only you have the power to change things and do things for yourself. You want to be the go-getter? Go get things, just by taking those first steps. Sure, you might think “Dear God, what am I doing?” half the time, but you’re really creating the life that you want and deserve for yourself.

On a lighter note: I now know that I have the uncanny ability to hold two drinks in the same hand. This is especially convenient when trying to take selfies or photos of whatever event you’re at.

 

Order the thing you want. Order what you really want, and don’t regret it. Screw it. Get the lobster topped with lobster and a cocktail and dessert. This is a case in which the term “Yolo” might actually be appropriate. 

Not everyone deserves an explanation or a reaction. Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all.  As someone who frequently posts her innermost thoughts on the internet, this has been a hard one for me. Sometimes people who disturb your peace just aren’t worth it. You can’t demand peace of mind from other people; you might not ever understand why they do what they do. You just have to figure it out for yourself and move forward.

Tell the people you love that you love them. Yes, it can be scary. Sometimes it doesn’t feel very good, even though it should. Do it anyway. Everyone is worthy of loving and being loved. It doesn’t have to be a quid pro quo thing. Sometimes loving someone doesn’t work out the way you want it to, sometimes it’s not enough. Tell them anyway. Don’t beat yourself up for being vulnerable. You’re a better person for it. Because, as Vladimir Nabokov so elegantly put it, we’re all just “rust and stardust” in the end. Nothing is ever guaranteed.

And lastly….

It’s not always you. 

And it’s a good life, indeed.

EVA ♥

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yes, the title is ironic.

No, I’m not a total grinch I swear, maybe just a little messed up, as he says. Hear me out, dear readers.

The holidays are hard. They are. Any grown adult who denies this is probably hiding from something in a giant pile of tinsel somewhere watching “The Christmas Prince” 18 days in a row. Maybe someone hurt you, maybe you’re missing all the people who can’t be with you this season, or maybe you don’t have a family to spend the holidays with.  Even if you have all your idealistic ducks in a row, maybe you’re just feeling the pressure to make the holidays special for everyone around you. A good friend of simply said the other day that the holidays are hard because “this is the time where you are supposed to be happy.” The whole damn commerce-driven world demands it of you. Wear the sparkles! Buy the people you love presents! Wish everyone “Happy Holidays,” it’s nice! SMILE!
When you work in a customer-facing field (to put it lightly) like I do, it’s imperative you screw that smile on tight every morning. I make holiday small talk with people, but often wonder what’s really going on with everyone else. Do they feel the same way about the holidays as I do? While we’re busy trading cookie recipes, did they lose someone or something they cared about? While we’re playing the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” on repeat, who are we trying to convince?  We’re here covering things with Christmas lights and pretending that everything is merry and bright and whatnot. Everyone gets swept up in the holiday momentum, and it’s easy enough to blend in with the crowd. As much as the holidays are a reminder of the good things in life, like spending time with friends and family, giving to other people; the not-so-good things often loom on the other side. January is, of course, the magical time where everyone gets their sh**t in order, right? Almost no one I know enjoys January, but we’ll all cross that bridge when we come to it.
All ranting aside, the thing I’ve come to realize is that, no matter where you are in life, you have to A: take a deep breath, and then B: make the holidays your own. Don’t let other people’s expectations ruin what should be a nice time, regardless of your circumstances. Take the focus off of yourself and do something nice for the people you care about. Give yourself little projects, like decorating the house, baking something delicious, or volunteering. Aside from baking and the occasional festive cocktail, I’ve really been enjoying my tradition of making original and slightly inappropriate Christmas cards. (This one won the year for me. Current life status: Emily.) Plenty of people can relate to feeling like the holidays aren’t for them. Each year I make my cards on Shutterfly, I struggle with finding designs that don’t insist on making my last name a plural or forcing me to introduce a whole group of people. What am I supposed to do with this?!  “Happy holidays  from Eva, her shoes, her glass of Zinfandel, and this Christmas tree”? Well… that’s actually what I do, so that’s sort of a bad example.
I’ve reached the point in my life where the holidays have become a time where I get to celebrate the way that I want, if it’s laughing at myself or just hibernating with a glass of wine and my little Christmas tree. Don’t let anyone make you feel badly about how you…well, do you.
Hang in there, dear readers. Happy holidays.
EVA♥

Sometimes I Think About Things…

Hello everyone.

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Sometimes, I think about how I would like to leave everything behind and move somewhere new. I would leave my little apartment with my purple bathroom that I love so much and start completely over, in a field I know nothing about. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if I moved to Vegas.

“Hi, my name is Eva, I’m a well-educated 20-something woman who just wants to wear a glittery costume and get paid to dance around a club all evening.”

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Sometimes I feel as if I’m in a constant swirl of trying to make connections, of trying to impress strangers, to prove my mettle as a “professional” adult. Most people around me have five-year plans and long-term career goals. The more I try to blend in, the more apparent it becomes that I’m always going to be me—a little bit goofy, a little bit too enthusiastic, and a tad bit doe-eyed about life in general. Add in a dash of neuroses and you have me in a nutshell. Like most people, my life certainly didn’t pan out the way I planned it to, and I’m not entirely sure what to do about it. I felt the sudden compulsion to make changes in my life, the equivalent of sticking bandaids on things that seem to be much more deeply affected.  I wanted to be more blonde, I wanted to start lifting weights, and I wanted to get a tattoo (or two). Ultimately, I wanted to stop trying to impress people with my perceived “quality of life.” I know that I don’t want to be someone who only looks good on paper.  I can’t imagine a life where the standard “What do you do/Where do you live/Who are you married to?” questions ultimately define me as a person.

I recently read an article by Noelle Hancock entitled “I Wrote an Essay About Moving to an Island and Scooping Ice Cream. I Wasn’t Prepared for the Response.”  It was, as I’m sure you can guess, a follow-up to a lifestyle piece she had written for Cosmopolitan years earlier about quitting her $95k-a-year-job and moving to an island in the Caribbean with no plan. I have a sudden respect for the people who have the urge to do things like this. A simple job seems to be wildly refreshing at times. I can easily imagine myself in an environment where my only job is to smile, wear the ridiculous outfit, and occasionally wave a glowstick. Sometimes I feel incredibly guilty for thinking about things like this because the little voice in my head yells “Oh my god! You graduated from one of the top universities in California! You can’t dance around in a bikini for a living!!”

Part of the reason I started blogging was that it forced me to be accountable. I couldn’t just write something on scratch paper and throw it away later because I was too embarrassed to share it. There are still plenty of things in my life that I’m embarrassed to share, but I’d like to think there’s a bit a bravery behind each post I publish. Especially when I write something as brazen as admitting that I have dreams of being a go-go dancer from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve written quite a bit about how lucky I feel to work in a field I’m so passionate about. Seeing and cultivating art almost everyday is something not very many people get to do, and even on the hard days, I’m immensely grateful for it.

But something else tells me I would be the best glowstick-waver ever.

EVA♥

Life Lately

Hello all!

It’s been quite a while since my last Life Lately post. Things have been interesting, to say the least! I’m trying to navigate a new role at work, one where I get to be more creative and actually write for a living! It’s a little nutty for me to think about, because it’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite and yet never quite wrapped my head around the possibility. I even recently published my first blog on my company’s site here. Writing in a professional context, and writing copy more often than not, is quite the change to get used to, but I’m looking forward to learning new tricks, so to speak. That being said, I often come home with my brain feeling like a wrung-out sponge, with most of my energy having gone into whatever tasks I needed to accomplish that day. Sometimes, the idea of slapping away at another keyboard can be a little daunting. I know I’m not alone here, right?

So, when the evenings and weekend roll around, I try to hit the proverbial reset button. Not so much “flatlining,” as I like to call it, more like changing gears. I usually overbook myself and try to get as much done as possible. This past weekend, for example, I spent the majority of my time at my very first work retreat. While the weather was a bit dismal for August, the view from the coastal retreat center was pretty amazing. That, and the bottomless cups of coffee made up for the unending fog. Welcome to the Bay Area, everyone!

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My Saturday then suddenly went from cups of coffee in the fog, to champagne punch poolside in the course of a few hours. I certainly can’t complain! In all, I have to say that I really enjoyed getting to know all of my coworkers a bit better. Nothing quite says bonding experience like bunking together like you’re back in college! On top of everything else, I was inadvertently thrown into a family dinner party situation. And by situation I mean helping my parents navigate my aunt and uncle’s large going-away dinner at the very last minute. I ended up showing up late, with wet hair, and frantically eating in the kitchen while trying to somehow navigate simultaneously serving tea and socializing with everyone.  This is what I mean by overbooking myself.  In short, while things are going well, they seem a bit hectic lately, to say the leat. I’m hoping I’ll navigate everything gracefully, and not bite off more than I can chew. Hey, this blog is called “Watch Me Juggle” for a reason!

Oh, and I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday all month long. Because I can.

That is all—until next time!

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello all!

It feels like the last few days have stretched on for weeks, not because they’ve been so laborious or tedious, quite the opposite! I have many life updates to get to, and while they’re all (for the most part) very exciting things, today calls for a relaxed Five Things. Before we get into all the craziness that has been my life lately (birthday celebrations, travels, job changes), I wanted to take a quick look back at the less-than crazy (even inspirational) things as of late.

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Photo: Mary Lee Shalvoy

Why is the photo so naugahyde-esque, you may ask? I recently did a photoshoot with the lovely Mary Lee Shalvoy (whose photos of my legs you can see here), and this was one of the photos I captured in the studio, moments after it was taken. It’s a sneak-peak for now, but I’m sure you’ll be seeing more official shots very soon!
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Just last week I celebrated my friend’s mother’s birthday at Dante Robere Vineyards in Livermore, CA. While Livermore might be the last place that comes to mind when you think of wine, I was so pleasantly surprised. We enjoyed a tacos and live music on the lawn as the sun set—it was such a nice evening!

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I’ve been to my fair share of festivals, flea markets, and fairs as of late. I’ve really been enjoying the art and the hodgepodge of antiques, and this wood painting (I believe the technique of wood-burning is referred to as pyrography) really caught my eye.

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I recently took a quick flight down to LA for a friend’s baby shower, that ended up serving as a mini college reunion of sorts. Following the shower, we spent some time in Santa Monica at The Misfit catching up over cocktails. If you’re ever there, dear readers, ask them for a cookie. You won’t regret it!

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My friend Stephanie is what I would call a plant fanatic. Point to any succulent you see and she would have it’s scientific name ready to go. It’s quite impressive, really, and has made me appreciate them so much more. Too bad I have a bit of a brown thumb.

Happy Wednesday!

EVA ♥

Five Things

Hi everyone!

My Five Things for the week are truly indicative of my life lately. Meaning, that my life has consisted of cold brew coffee/cocktails/coffee cocktails, inspirational Pinterest quotes, snarky T-shirts, and chocolate. In case you haven’t already noticed, I’m a horrible stereotype of a 20-something woman and need to be stopped. But, at the end of the day, at least I’m not accosting you with my crazy outfits from Coachella. You’re welcome.

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Prizefighter is quickly becoming one of my favorite East Bay bars. It has everything you might need: snacks, delicious cocktails, and puppies. I often come here over other spots just to play with stranger’s dogs. They do get bonus points for having a section of their menu dedicated to alcoholic iced coffees. Win!

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There’s the most wonderful little wine shop that sells European cheeses and chocolates. I like to stop by occasionally and grab lunch there while ogling all their treats.

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My friend Rachel recently introduced me to a marvelous new thing: Creme de Violette. It makes your cocktails this beautiful violet color, and tastes amazing! I like it best in my gin and tonics.

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Photo c/o Pinterest

Sometimes I wish life could be this simple. Perhaps it’s just up to you! Go get yourself some ice cream and forget about those people, and, although violence is never the answer, I’m sure there are a few individuals out there who merit this quote. Thanks for the wisdom, Frank Ocean.

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Photo c/o Thug Life Shirts

A friend recently showed me this t-shirt and pronounced that it was entirely me. I also like hiking, as long as I can wear my yoga pants and bring my traveling latte. I could spend a great deal of time perusing all of the tops at Thug Life Shirts– they’re all hilarious. I could never decide on just one.

Until next time!

EVA♥

Five Things

Hello everyone!

Five Things is back! I’ve missed sharing my day-to-day snaps of random things that pique my interest. Photography is not at all my strong suit, but I’m aiming to get better at it. Thank goodness for the nice cameras on the iPhone 6! Without further ado, here are the latest “things”:

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I couldn’t help but take a photo of this beautiful display of flowers in a home decor store in downtown St. Helena. Real or fake? I leave it up to you.

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I recently got a chance to catch up with some old co-workers of mine on the back patio of one of my favorite spots in Hayes Valley. We each ended up ordering a different color of wine. If you guessed that the Sauvignon blanc belonged to me, you are correct!

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My world-traveling friend Rachel brought this little treat for me back from her recent jaunt to Argentina and Antarctica. While we knew it was a cookie, we had no idea what flavor. Apparently Tita is an Argentinian chocolate-covered, lemon cookie sandwich. You learn something new everyday.

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My friend Emily was in town recently, and I dragged her all over the entire Bay Area in search of impressive food and drinks. We actually ended up making two stops at Trouble Coffee in West Oakland, if for the toast alone. Pictured above is their peanut butter and honey variety, but my favorite is easily the cinnamon toast. Nom.

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Image c/o Pinterest

The boss lady and I have been pinning our hearts out on Pinterest lately, and enjoy sending each other things. The above image ended up in my messages one morning with the caption “For my traveler.”

Until next time!

EVA♥

Just a Smile

Hello everyone!

Today, I wanted to write about something that has preoccupied me for some time. To be completely honest, I’ve been a bit frightened to publish this particular post, because it focuses on something I’ve been incredibly self-conscious about for a really, really long time: my teeth.

To make a long story short, when I was seven I slipped and fell while dancing on my great aunt’s slick kitchen floor in Austria, knocking one of my front teeth completely out. Approximately 3 years later, I fell again, and damaged the neighboring tooth. Since then, I’ve spent over 5 years in braces, had two root canals, two tissue graft surgeries, a tooth extraction, a bone graft, and a new tooth implanted. Between that and interesting genetics that left me with an additional missing tooth, I’ve never been entirely happy with my smile.  It’s always been far from perfect, and, on top of that, I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life living with what I jokingly referred to as my “party trick” tooth:

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And a smile that looked like this:

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To say I was self-conscious about it was an understatement.

Even with the fake teeth, I hated looking at photos of myself and seeing the gap and mismatched color of my teeth. I never took the retainer out of my mouth, except to sleep, and, even then, only my good friends had seen me entirely without it. When I traveled, or had an important event, I lived in fear that the retainer would break, and that I would suddenly be without a tooth. It’s quite literally the stuff of nightmares, having your teeth falling out of your head. When I was living with my college roommates, I broke my retainer, or flipper as it’s often called, eating a piece of pizza. I knew I had wonderful friends when, between getting me to laugh uncontrollably in the midst of a rather horrifying situation, they were fully prepared to trek to the local drugstore on their bikes to buy me a tube of Fixodent until I made it to the dentist. They also indulged me when I began to insist that I be photographed from one particular side, as I joked “That’s the side with all my real teeth!”

After years of surgeries and continuous poking around in my mouth, I was both tired and slightly afraid to step into another dentist’s office. My smile has always been a work in progress, but, recently I decided to be both more proactive and optimistic, and go back to the dentist. It’s still a work in progress, but now my smile looks like this:

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(Forgive the grainy, post-work-out photo. Look at that smile!)

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I had always hoped that one day that my smile would be better. It seems like such a trivial thing, really. I feel fortunate for having so many positive things in my life, on some days, having perfect teeth seemed almost too much to ask. When I was handed the mirror at the end of my most recent dentist appointment, I was startled, and perhaps not in a good way. I had, for so long, resigned myself to the fact that I was the girl who had two fake, gappy, mismatched teeth. I suddenly happy and slightly uncomfortable with my new look, all at the same time. Now that I’ve gotten a little more used to them, I couldn’t be happier. I still have quite a way to go over the next few months, and I’ll keep documenting my progress. In the meantime, I have plenty to smile about.

EVA♥

Why Saying ‘No’ Makes You A Better Person

Hello everyone!

I was stuck in the traffic that is my morning commute and found myself utterly bored. Because texting and driving is heavily frowned upon, I just let my mind wander. I’ve been thinking a lot of deep things about life lately:”What am I going to make for dinner?” “What if I could have gotten that cheaper on eBay?” You know, the usual. So, it surprised me that among the many deep things that I was pondering, I came across what feels like a gem. I like to joke about my lack of “adult” behavior here quite a bit, but I recently realized that there are some very adult things I do on a daily basis that I don’t give that much thought to anymore.  One thing I’ve noticeably become more confident doing over the last few years is simply saying ‘No.’ 

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Usually the word ‘no’ has some really strong connotations that come with it. If you say it too often you must be a negative, stubborn, selfish, uncaring, immature person, right?  The awful adjectives could go on and on. We assign it to toddlers, young people with zero-self awareness prone to pitching fits. But, it’s taken me a while to realize that it can be a positive thing too. ‘No’ is appropriate for many occasions, not all of them bad. When it comes to making friends and building relationships I’ve learned to be a little more discerning. Sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to do, but if you have people in your life that you’re incompatible with, or who don’t add much of anything positive, you can say no to them. Be honest, be kind, but still, say no. It’s a much more mature way of going about things than picking fights or leaving them hanging.

You work life might similarly benefit from your new word. Be realistic, if you find yourself running into problems or limitations, you can say no, and maybe spur some change.  It’s perhaps not the most optimistic way of thinking about things but, as someone who isn’t terribly opinionated or outspoken, saying no can empower you in certain situations. Of course, I’m not saying that simply saying no all the time is a realistic way of getting things done, or an effective way of getting out of doing things you don’t want to do. It is important, however, to use it as a tool when you feel yourself deviating from the path you want to go. I realize there’s quite a lot of irony to be found in my writing this, as I’m pretty sure I went on a tirade on Saying ‘Yes’ to things a mere few months ago. With gifs and all! They’re weirdly similar- just two sides of the same coin. The ultimate moral of the story is to take a stand for the things you can do, and want to do, and don’t be afraid! Saying no can be a means of sticking up for yourself, really. If you’re able to draw these lines for yourself, I suspect you might garner some respect from the people you would least expect it from. I hate to say it, but you might have a little more respect for yourself, too.

That’s all for now! I’ll be back soon with more incredibly deep things.

EVA ♥

Five Things

Hello everyone,

It’s that time again! No, it’s not just any ordinary Wednesday, but it’s #NationalDogDay!

Is it just me, or is just about every-other-day some sort of hashtag something-or-other? #NationalDanceDay, #NationalDoughnutDay, #NationalWatermelonDay- exactly who is in charge of making up these supposed “national” holidays? Well-played Instagram, you’re giving us more and more excuses to post unnecessary photos of food on a daily basis. And who doesn’t love trending topics on social media? Don’t get me wrong, I plan to take full advantage of #NationalDogDay by kicking off this week’s Five Things with some pictures of adorable puppies, courtesy of Buzzfeed, of course!

Let’s begin with Looking at These Awesome Dogs, and go from there…

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This was captioned: “Look at this dog, who’s not quite sure how he got there or how to get down, but he damn sure doesn’t want to admit it.” His guilty face and slight confusion says it all. Now you can say you’ve gotten your oversize puppy fix for the week!
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Speaking of oversize puppies, I found this chubby cat looking rather regal enduring the hot weather we’ve been having lately. Or perhaps she was just staring at the birds outside? Either way, she’s quite the entertaining subject.

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I’ve been spending a bit of time wandering about airports lately, and these fabulous Essie vending machines seem to have become somewhat of a fixture. Sure, why not give yourself a fun mani while waiting for your delayed flight? It seems like a great way to pass the time!

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@Mallorylucille, designlovefest.com

My good friend Emily shared this beautiful design with me on my birthday. It’s from artist Mallory Lucille Rose, by way of DesignLoveFest. I think it would make a great wall print, don’t you?

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If you read my previous post, you’ll recall that I went on some Las Vegas adventures quite recently. The photo above is from my friends’ Bellagio suite overlooking The Strip.  Pictured is the “chandelier” that hung over their formal dining table. Not too shabby…

Until next time,

EVA♥